“When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write. But I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Keep secret what the seven thunders said, and do not write it down.””
Revelation 10:4 NLT
“But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.”
“But he said, “Go now, Daniel, for what I have said is kept secret and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by these trials. But the wicked will continue in their wickedness, and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means.””
Daniel 12:4, 9-10 NLT
The Apostle John was about to write down what the “seven thunders” were saying when he was told that he had to keep them secret. Keeping something secret happened once before, when the prophet Daniel was in discussion with an angel, though for him he was told to seal up the book about what he knew “until the time of the end”. In both cases, there was something that God wanted kept out of the public domain until the time was right to reveal it, if at all. And the secrets died with the person who was privileged to receive them, John or Daniel. Why did God even allow mention of the fact that these secrets existed? And what was so secret that it had to be kept hidden?
Before we think further about the secrets disclosed by the “seven thunders” perhaps we should pause and ask what or who they were. In the Bible thunder is often associated with God, and His judgements. For example in Psalm 18:13 we read, ” The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals.” In Exodus 9:23 we read, “So Moses lifted his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed toward the earth…”. But why “seven thunders” and not just one? Apart from the fact that seven is a number representing completion and perfection in the Bible, we don’t have a specific answer.
But back to our questions about the secrets and what they were. I must confess that I don’t really have a clue, and neither does anyone else, as far as I can see. If anyone knew what the secret was, then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. There has been speculation of course, but nothing that can be supported by Scripture. The only hint I can see from the verses today as to why these secrets existed is that the knowledge needed to understand them doesn’t yet exist. The words themselves were obviously able to be recorded, but what they meant was to be a secret. There is always the possibility that the words of the “seven thunders” was kept secret because they were too terrible to be disclosed.
Usually secrets exist because they hide information about someone or something that is embarrassing or illegal or to protect a national interest. Technology companies have gone to great lengths in recent years to provide ways to protect data, such as pictures, videos or conversations, from public scrutiny. For example, we have WhatsApp with its “end to end” encryption that is unable to be read by anyone other than the originator and the recipient. Over previous years, before modern encryption methods had been invented, people stayed awake at night dreaming up ways to make messages secure. And we have the much publicised efforts of the code breaking team and their successes at Bletchley Park in the Second World War. But it begs the question as to why such extremes should be followed for the average person having a conversation with a relative or friend. Paranoia? But then I don’t live in a Marxist environment where the authorities wish to control the very actions of their peoples. Where a wrong word, or phrase can lead to a knock on the door.
So what do we pilgrims make of John’s and Daniel’s secrets? We know that one day all will be revealed – I don’t believe that there will be any secrets in Heaven. Until that day we are in a position where we must trust and have faith in our wonderful Creator God. Only He knows the beginning from the end. From the writings in the Bible we have been given a glimpse of what is to come at “the time of the end”. But that is all that it is – a glimpse.
Father God. We rest in Your grace and love today, secure in the knowledge that You know what is best for each one of us. We put our faith and trust in You today and every day. Amen.